Southern was the bigger team Saturday night.
The Jaguars are a perimeter-oriented team that starts just two frontcourt players, but they found a team even more perimeter-oriented in Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
The Golden Lions’ frontcourt starters were 6-foot-7 Devin Berry and two 6-6 players — Thaddeus Handley Jr. and Trent Whiting. Southern’s were 6-10 Frank Snow and 6-9 Jared Sam.
As a result, the Jaguars got most of their offense around the basket, and Golden Lions got most of theirs from the perimeter. So the percentages figured to favor Southern, and they did as the Jaguars took three fewer shots than UAPB and made five more field goals.
In the end, Southern claimed a 70-60 victory at the F.G. Clark Activity Center.
“I thought we had a little bit of a size advantage,” Jaguars coach Roman Banks said. “They also play a zone and trap out of it and leave your post players one on one. So we wanted to move the ball around trying to get the ball into the post and have our guys flash to the middle.”
It paid off as Southern outscored UAPB in paint 38-14, and the Jaguars’ four frontcourt players combined for 46 points and 16 rebounds. The Golden Lions played seven frontcourt players and they combined for 11 points and 17 rebounds. Overall, Southern had a 36-29 edge in rebounding.
Southern, 7-12 and 4-1 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, hosts Mississippi Valley State on Monday. UAPB is 2-14 and 1-3.
Snow led the Jaguars with 17 points, Joell Hopkins scored 12, Adrian Rodgers had 10 and Sam had 10 and a game-high eight rebounds.
“It’s very important that we’re able to score in the paint and have touches in the paint,” said Sam, who made just one field goal but hit all eight of his free throws. “It makes it easier for us to spread the floor.”
All of the Golden Lions’ double-figure scorers were guards as Marcel Mosley had 26 points and Tevin Hammond and Ghiavonni Robinson had 11 each.
The UAPB backcourt created foul problems for their Southern counterparts as Trelun Banks played just 20 minutes and didn’t score, and Christopher Hyder had one point in 24 minutes.
“We didn’t play all that well perimeter wise,” coach Banks said, “but we played good enough.”
Southern led by 12 at halftime and maintained a similar edge throughout the first 11 minutes of the second half.
Snow scored the Jaguars’ first five points, and Sam followed with a dunk. Three points from Hopkins and a jumper by Tre Lynch gave Southern a 54-43 lead with nine minutes left.
“They went small early in the second half, and we took advantage of that,” Snow said.
Hammond’s 3-pointer started a UAPB run that included a Hammond layup and four free throws by Mosley, getting the Golden Lions within 57-52 with nearly six minutes remaining.
A put-back by Rodgers and six free throws by Sam pushed the lead back to 13 with less than four minutes left, and UAPB didn’t threaten again.
Southern began the game with a determined effort to get the ball to Snow inside, and the plan mostly worked.
Snow scored 11 points as the Jaguars opened a 24-16 lead. He had other opportunities but made just two of five free throws.
“(Scoring early) helped a lot,” Snow said, “because I need confidence to play with a lot of energy.”
Consecutive 3-pointers Robinson helped the Golden Lions get within one point, but the Jaguars continued to have success inside. Sam made two free throws, Hopkins made a tip-in, and Keith Davis had a three-point play on a layup.
Mosley made a basket from the lane before Hopkins made a free throw, Davis scored twice inside, and Cameron Monroe made a steal and a layup for a 38-25 edge.
Then Mosley scored five points as he finished with the Golden Lions’ final seven, cutting the Jaguars lead to 42-30 at halftime.
Follow Les East on Twitter @EastAdvocate.